For her first attempt at directing, Lynette Tonneson choir director at Our Redeemer's Christian School has chosen the classic "H.M.S. Pinafore" by Gilbert and Sullivan.
Tonneson said several of her some 40 cast members, however, come to the production with a great deal of experience.
"For some, this is their first time on stage," she said. "But we have a number from Western Plains Children's Choruses. It's really a wide range of ages and abilities."
Terry J. Aman/MDN - - Nash Smith as Sir Joseph Porter, left, looks on while Alyssa Tonneson as Josephine, center, sings with Alex Schoenberg-Carton as Captain Corcoran, right, in a rehearsal session for the Our Redeemer’s Christian School production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore.”
Terry J. Aman/MDN - - Alex Schoenberg-Carton shares a duet with Heather Brockell. in a rehearsal session for the Our Redeemer’s Christian School production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore.”
Terry J. Aman/MDN - - Back row, from left: Alex Schoenberg-Carton, Heather Brockell. Jessica Vix and Nash Smith. Front row, from left, Alyssa Tonneson, Ricky Ness, Zach Knutson and Levi Burch in a rehearsal session for the Our Redeemer’s Christian School production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore.”
One experienced cast member is Alex Schoenberg-Carton in the role of Captain Corcoran, commander aboard the H.M.S. "His Majesty's Ship" Pinafore, presented in the sanctuary at Our Redeemer's Christian School.
His fellow cast members range from grades seven through 12, and Tonneson said she is happy that the bulk of her charges are among the younger ages.
"It gives me longer to work with them," she said, smiling.
She said the group is presenting an abridged version of the 133-year-old operetta, noting "The songs are shorter, and some of the dialogue has been cut, but the story and music is still there."
"H.M.S. Pinafore" has been a hit since its first appearance, and much of it has pervaded the cultural lexicon.
Dick Deadeye, for instance played here by Zach Knutson is the original for the Wild West's Deadeye Dick.
This prototype musical comedy has songs which still delight, whether in the play or apart from it, such as Heather Brockell's solo "I'm Called Little Buttercup."
Part of this operetta's staying power could be that it is brimming with mirth and silliness. With its roots in the Victorian Era, it was a change from the stilted, mannered performances contemporary audiences were accustomed to. Even the title is silly naming a British warship after a child's play dress. It pokes good-natured fun at patriotism, the Royal Navy, and the rise of unqualified people to positions of authority.
Nash Smith, for instance, plays The Right Honorable Sir Joseph Porter, KCB, First Lord of the Admiralty. The Captain's daughter Josephine, played by Alyssa Tonneson, is in love with Ralph Rackstraw, played by Ricky Ness. Heading the troupe of Sir Joseph's cousins and sisters and aunts is Jessica Vix, and of his crew is Boatswain's Mate, Bill Bobstay, played by Levi Burch.
Performances are Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. with a freewill offering, and treats are available for purchase during intermission.